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Best Interior Designers, Interviews

Robin Toetenel from Ethnic Chic – Home Couture: Exclusive Interview

Robin Toetenel is one of the founders of Ethnic Chic Home Couture, an international design studio with bespoke interior projects and an online platform. A place to explore luxury craftsmanship, find inspiration on the latest design insights and shop the finest interior brands.

Best Interior Designers had the opportunity to exclusively interview Robin Toetenel, one of the founders of this amazing design studio, and today we will share everything with you!

 

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Robin Toetenel

 

CAREER

How did you get involved in the interior design Industry?

It all started when I was little. When I was 4 years old I always wanted to go to churches because I loved the interiors. I was especially fascinated by the intricate details in the architect’s and designer’s work. Nowadays this passion for small detail reflects in my work where you can find that every millimeter was designed and thought of. I love details.

 

Marvellous Living Room With Exquisite Details

 

What was the most challenging time in your career, and how did you overcome it?

The most challenging thing in my career was to perfectly translate my idea into reality. It is difficult to get to the level of perfection you imagine as many things change thought the process of a project. With many people working on the same project details tend to change. As I am obsessed with details, I worked hard to get my designs as close to perfection as possible. Now after 16 years we are very close to the level of precision I strive for but there are still things to learn and improve.

 

How would you describe your work style? Do you have any kind of signatures that help to identify your projects?

We like to stay flexible as different projects and different clients require different things. But one thing that unites them all would be the attention to small detail. Every millimeter is thought of and designed.

 

Feature Red Sofa

 

Being in love with our work is always the key to achieving better results. Are you in love with this job? What do you love most about being an interior designer?

I am absolutely in love with my job. It is what fuels me every day. And the thing I love the most is probably when our clients are happy in their homes years after completion. Everyone can be in awe the moment they come through the door for the first time. But lasting happiness with a home is something special.

 

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What dreams are you still lingering on to?

I would love to design the interior of a plane or a yacht one day.

 

Classic Dark Toned Dining Room

 

What is your philosophy on design and life?

Our homes need to be comforting. They are the cradle of a good life.

 

What makes you feel fulfilled professionally?

It is the moments when our clients are happy in their home even after many years they have lived in it. For one of our projects, the clients requested their home to look like one luxurious Parisian hotel. When the house was finished they visited the hotel again and when they came back home they called us to say they liked their home even better than the hotel. That was one of the most fulfilling moments.

 

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INSPIRATION

Keeping up to date on all the trends is essential for anyone who wants to conquer this market. In what ways do you keep current with new trends?

For us, trends are never a priority as we always yearn for designs that can stand the test of time. We try to incorporate trends but always in timeless ways which will be beautiful for decades to come.

 

Modern Classic Living Room By Robin Toetenel

 

Which major international events do you attend/follow to get the latest novelties?

Salone del Mobile, Maison & Objet Deco and Kips Bay.

 

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How would you describe your personal decorating style?

I love antiques combined with more contemporary materials. This juxtaposition gives interiors a powerful yet harmonious dynamic.

Classic Dining Room By Robin Toetenel

 

All artists need some inspiration to work, and interior designers are artists too. So, what or who really inspires you?

Traveling is what inspires me the most. Exploring different cultures and their traditions and then mixing them together is what brings the most unexpected and unique ideas. However, books about historical design styles or archival fabrics can inspire me, too.

 

Inspiration is something that pushes everyone to create unique things. What makes you see the world in a different way?

When I walk into a room I instantly look at the details of the design which always gives me something to think about.

 

Modern Classic House Robin Toetenel

 

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If you had to pick one project around the world that you wish was made by you, which one would it be?

All the projects at Kips Bay are always fantastic. I would love to participate in Kips Bay.

 

Colourful Dining Room By Robin Toetenel

 

PROJECTS

 

How important is a perfect chemistry between you and your clients to achieve the best results?

It’s all about personal contact. We need to understand our clients fully and listen emphatically to produce good designs. Usually, after the 1st meeting with my clients, I can already have a pretty good idea of how they live and what they need. I meet with them a lot and listen openly.

 

Choosing the best pieces to compose a project can be the secret to getting the best overall result. Although it seems easy, this is a delicate task and needs full attention on time to execute. Do you have some tips for those who do not know well how to start a challenge like this?

There are too many straight lines in so many interiors. My advice is, try using curves and soft shapes. If there are difficult rooms with narrow areas or a strange ceiling we always start playing with different shapes which help a room flow well.

 

Beautiful White And Gold Bathroom Withb Accent Wall

 

Do you think working with teams in interior design is better or worse than working alone? Why?

It is impossible to do it on your own. Everything we do is a result of tens, sometimes hundreds of skilled people that collaborate together. It is actually my favorite part when there are many people at the project site running around. I thrive on this organized chaos.

 

Marvellous Dark Office By Robin Toetenel

 

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PROJECTS

 

How would you describe your relationship with your audience? Do you have a special way of communicating/advertising your work?

It’s all about personal contact. We need to understand our clients fully and listen emphatically to produce good designs. Usually, after the 1st meeting with my clients, I can already have a pretty good idea of how they live and what they need. I meet with them a lot and listen openly.

 

Are you working on anything new at the moment? What’s the inspiration behind what you working on at the moment?

We are currently working on our own house brand called Calipseo where we are developing silk rugs and hand-painted wallpaper. We focus very closely on craftsmanship and customization. We are very excited for this to go live very soon!

 

Meeting room IV ethnic chic robin-toetenel

 

What would you say is the trend at the moment in the design world – creatively speaking? 

For us, trends are never a priority as we always yearn for designs that can stand the test of time. We try to incorporate trends but always in timeless ways which will be beautiful for decades to come.

How would you describe your client type? What do they do, what do they like, what projects are they involved in?

There is a huge diversity in our clients. However, what unites them is their international background. They are so well-traveled!

 

Any interesting collaborations in the future?

We are working on an online boutique right now that will sell luxurious interior decor items. At the moment we are spending our time on the creative direction of the website as presenting the items in an inspiring and untraditional way is our goal.

 

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FUTURE

 

Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment that you can tell us about?

We are currently working on our own house brand called Calipseo where we are developing silk rugs and hand-painted wallpaper. We focus very closely on craftsmanship and customization. We are very excited about this going live very soon.

 

What has been your greatest accomplishment as a designer? What goals do you have for the future?

Happy clients who love their home even many years after they have moved in.

 

Living Room With Curved Sofa By Robin Toetenel

 

When it comes to craftsmanship; who do you think is leading the way?

There are still a lot of small craftsmen in the world hidden in tiny ancient studios that few know about. These artists have the most unique and fascinating skills that are slowly disappearing. Hence, it is important to us to work with them to keep this art form alive and encourage others to do the same.

 

What do you think will be the focus in the design world in the future? Any particular changes that you would like to see happening?

As we have lived through some trying times in the last two years people are realizing that they want their home to feel more cozy and homey. Therefore I would like to see designers move further away from the all-white environments and explore different combinations of various materials and colors which create this warm homey feeling.

 

Kids Playroom By Robin Toetenel

 

Do you have a favorite project or a favorite story about one of your projects?

I can’t choose! They are all different. But I love the moment in process of any project when the built-ins are going on. When many people are running around and everything is coming together.

 

 

 

What did you think about this inspirational interview with Robin Toetenel From Ethnic Chic Home Couture?

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